Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Compound "X" (SPME-Headspace Analysis of The 'Medicine Mix')

Following on from an earlier post back in August of 2012, much work in this area has continued 'behind the scenes'. The conclusion from this investigative work lead me to believe that a specific (predicted) volatile was expected to be present in Matthew and Neil's magic 'Medicine Mix'. Please see their post on the subject matter, dated 21st August 2014. Today GC-MS SPME-headspace (Solid-Phase MicroExtraction) analysis was performed on a sample of their mix (although prepared by myself, according to their video instructions) and to my surprise I discovered that the predicted volatile was not only present, but also turned out to be the major volatile component (at least within the specific temperature range tested).

The volatile of interest is a major constituent of decomposing carcasses, is emitted from dog (and other predominantly but not exclusively carnivore) faeces, is a considerable component of the volatiles emitted from Limburger cheese [see Friedrich, 1977] and under certain conditions is also often present in human sweat secretions. The compound in question has been identified in the bouquet of fly pollinated plants and as such has been demonstrated to be a major attractant to these other insect species. If this wasn't enough however the volatile in question is also known to be present in the honeydew secreted by Quercus (Oak) aphids. I am currently in the process of constructing a laboratory grade, butterfly sized, Y-tube olfactometer in order to specifically test this and other volatile compounds on A.iris and A.ilia specimens. Assuming that the results obtained from these latter experiments are encouraging, you can expect to find me at Fermyn Woods next season (2015) with a ton of this compound in order to test if it works as an attractant literally out 'in the field'.

What then is this mysterious compound "X"? Sorry, but this you will need to wait until after further confirmation has been obtained in order to find out! More on this is obviously to follow...


No comments: